My Highland Mate

Page 39

“I’ll line up for the clue,” Rory said. “You ladies work out our strategy.”
He was gone only a few minutes. Anita, Edwina, and Suzie crowded around him to read over his shoulder. “What do you think? Any ideas of where to start?”
“Make a wish, but don’t take a drink,” Suzie murmured. “That sounds like something with water.”
“One last rule,” the compere shouted. “You must hold hands to start and finish the hunt the same way. Any team who finishes with all the answers to their clues must cross the finish line with their four players holding hands. After all, this week is about togetherness and making friends. I will disqualify any team that does not follow this rule.”
“Where does the hunt end?” someone shouted.
“Follow your noses toward the barbecue, and you’ll find the completion line. The first team over the line in the prescribed manner will win the tropical island holiday plus a bottle of bubbles to help celebrate their win. Any more questions? No? All right then. On your marks.”
“When can we release hands?” a woman asked.
“As soon as you can no longer see me. If you can see my wondrous tartan suit,then you’d better be holding hands.”
“Great,” Rory mumbled.
Anita grinned because most of the comments were far ruder.
“Quick. Hold hands,” Edwina instructed. “We’ll start and think on the trot.”
“You make a wish in a fountain,” Rory said as they awkwardly stumbled along in a connected line while trying to avoid the other competitors.
Rory’s touch warmed her heart, and optimism flowed in Anita. “Anyone remember seeing a fountain?”
Edwina wrinkled her nose. “No.”
“The obvious place is the garden.” Suzie turned their line in that way.
“Great, head around the back so we can drop hands,” Edwina said. “I feel ridiculous.”
“You look it,” Anita said. “I wish I had enough hands to take a photo to email to Saber.
“I’ll take one.” At the front of their line, Rory pulled out his phone and snapped a shot before they could start a heated protest.
They scampered around the corner and broke contact.
Edwina focused on Rory. “Let us see.”
He extended his phone, and Suzie groaned. “It’s as bad as I feared, but it’s not silly to send a couple of action shots home. Snap more and send them to London for the social media page.”
“You have social media pages?” Rory asked, his shock evident. “What about humans?”
“We have a private forum for the local shifters. The Feline Council runs it, and they approve who can and can’t have access, but we have a public page where we post photos of local events and news. We all have human friends, and we told them we were coming to Scotland for an exchange program,” Suzie explained. “They’ll be expecting photos.”
“There’s a fountain. Ah, other groups have the same idea,” Rory said. “We should hustle.”
They broke into an easy jog and headed for the fountain. Once closer, Anita spotted a yellow paper taped on the side. A petite bird shifter plucked it away and joined her group before Anita could speak.
Rory had seen too. “Check the fountain base for more clues.”
Anita circled the fountain—a Grecian woman with an urn. Water arced from the top of the pot to land in a pool at her feet.
“Found one,” Edwina shouted, triumph in her tone.
Anita and Rory huddled with Edwina and Suzy to read the clue.
“A non-venomous snake that is helpful with water. Any clues?” Edwina asked.